Frequently Asked

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Frequently Asked Questions

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No. An identification document must contain the name, residence address, date of birth and photograph of the holder. A Social Security card does not, by itself, contain sufficient information to identify a firearms purchaser. However, a purchaser may be identified by any combination of government–issued documents which together establish all of the required information.

Persons who have been convicted of a “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year,” as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20), are prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Felons whose convictions have been set aside or expunged, or for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored are not considered convicted under section 922(g)(1), unless that person was expressly prohibited by the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held from possessing firearms. Persons convicted of a State offense should contact the State Attorney General’s Office in the State in which they reside and the State of the conviction for information concerning State and local firearms restrictions, and any alternatives that may be available, such as a gubernatorial pardon or civil rights restoration. A list of State Attorney General contact numbers may be found at

If your conviction is for a Federal offense, you would regain the ability to lawfully receive, possess, or transport firearms if you receive a Presidential pardon. You can find additional information about such pardons by contacting the Office of the Pardon Attorney online at

The GCA includes a provision that gives ATF authority to grant relief from Federal firearms disabilities. 18 U.S.C. § 925(c). However, since 1992, ATF’s annual Congressional appropriation has prohibited ATF from expending any funds to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities submitted by individuals. As long as this provision is included in ATF appropriations, ATF cannot act upon such applications for relief.

ATF does not operate the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Please contact the NICS Customer Service Center at (877) 444-6427 for further assistance. You can also find information about the NICS system by visiting the FBI’s website at

It is unlawful for any Federal firearms licensee (FFL) to sell or deliver any firearm or ammunition to anyone he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than eighteen years of age. It is unlawful for an FFL to sell or deliver a firearm other than a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for a firearm other than a rifle or shotgun to any individual who he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than 21 years of age. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1).

However, an unlicensed individual may sell or transfer any firearm to an individual over the age of 18 who resides in the same State, provided that he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.

Please note that there may be State laws that prohibit the possession of firearms, including handguns, by an individual who is under 21 years of age. You should contact your State’s Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the laws and possible restrictions in your State concerning the possession of firearms. A list of State Attorney General Offices may be found at

There is no Federal registration requirement for most conventional sporting firearms. Only those firearms subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA) (e.g., machine guns, short-barrel firearms, silencers, destructive devices, or any other weapons) must be registered with ATF. For information on the registration and transfer provisions of the National Firearms Act, please refer to the ATF NFA Handbook at or contact the ATF NFA Branch at (304) 616-4500. Please note that firearms registration may be required by State or local law. Any person considering acquiring a firearm should contact his or her State Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the laws and possible State or local restrictions. A list of State Attorney General contact numbers may be found at

Firearms owners are encouraged to maintain personal records of their firearms to aid in recovery or investigation by State or local law enforcement agencies in the event a privately owned firearm is stolen or lost. ATF recommends utilizing ATF Form 3312.8, Personal Firearms Record.

Neither ATF nor any other Federal agency issues such a permit or license. CCPs may be issued by a State or local government.

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